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A SQL API is often used when the application program and the database are on two different systems in a client/server architecture, as shown in Figure 19-2. In this configuration, the code for the API functions is located on the client system, where the application program executes. The DBMS software is located on the server system, where the database resides. Calls from the application program to the API take place locally within the client system, and the API code translates the calls into messages that it sends to and receives from the DBMS over a network. A SQL API offers particular advantages for a client/server architecture because it can minimize the amount of network traffic between the API and the DBMS. The early APIs offered by various DBMS products differed substantially from one another. Like many parts of the SQL language, proprietary SQL APIs proliferated long before there was an attempt to standardize them. In addition, SQL APIs tend to expose the underlying capabilities of the DBMS more than the embedded SQL approach,
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A SQL API in an client/server architecture
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leading to even more differences. Nonetheless, all of the SQL APIs available in commercial SQL products are based on the same fundamental concepts illustrated in Figures 19-1 and 19-2. These concepts also apply to the ODBC API and more recent ANSI/ISO standards based on it.
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The first major DBMS product to emphasize its callable API was SQL Server, in versions from both Sybase and Microsoft. For many years, the SQL Server callable API was the only interface offered by these products. Both Microsoft and Sybase now offer embedded SQL capabilities and have added newer or higher-level callable APIs, but the original SQL Server API remains a very popular way to access these DBMS brands. The SQL Server API also provided the model for much of Microsoft s ODBC API. SQL Server and its API are also an excellent example of a DBMS designed from the ground up around a client/server architecture. For all of these reasons, it s useful to begin our exploration of SQL APIs by examining the basic SQL Server API. The original SQL Server API, which is called the database library or dblib, consists of about 100 functions available to an application program. The API is very comprehensive, but a typical program uses only about a dozen of the function calls, which are summarized in Table 19-1. The other calls provide advanced features, alternative methods of interacting with the DBMS, or single-call versions of features that otherwise would require multiple calls.
19:
SQL APIs
Function
dblogin() Dbopen() dbuse() Dbexit()
Description
Provides a data structure for login information Opens a connection to SQL Server Establishes the default database Closes a connection to SQL Server
Database connection/disconnection
Basic statement processing dbcmd() dbsqlexec() dbresults() dbcancel() Error handling dbmsghandle() dberrhandle() Query results processing Dbbind() dbnextrow() dbnumcols() dbcolname() dbcoltype() dbcollen() Dbdata() dbdatlen() dbcanquery() Table 19-1. Binds a query results column to a program variable Fetches the next row of query results Obtains the number of columns of query results Obtains the name of a query results column Obtains the data type of a query results column Obtains the maximum length of a query results column Obtains a pointer to a retrieved data value Obtains the actual length of a retrieved data value Cancels a query before all rows are fetched Establishes a user-written message-handler procedure Establishes a user-written error-handler procedure Passes SQL statement text to dblib Requests execution of a statement batch Obtains results of next SQL statement in a batch Cancels the remainder of a statement batch
Basic dblib API Functions
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Basic SQL Server Techniques
A simple SQL Server program that updates a database can use a very small set of dblib calls to do its work. The program in Figure 19-3 implements a simple quota update application for the SALESREPS table in the sample database. It is identical to
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